Cancer treatment, adjuvant treatment The specialist will answer questions about the side effects of oncology therapy and treatment options that support cancer patients: dr hab. n. honey. Renata Zaucha, MUG, Professor, Department of Oncology and Radiotherapy and Clinic, Gdansk Medical University. Professor, cancer treatment is often associated with the appearance of side effects. What conditions do cancer patients often struggle with? dr hab. n. honey.
Renata Zaucha: The treatment of cancer is associated with a high risk of complications, the spectrum of which depends on the methods used. We expect other side effects after radiotherapy, others after chemotherapy, immunotherapy or hormone therapy. In addition, the so-called targeted treatment can damage not only cancer cells, but also healthy cells, resulting in many side effects.
Interestingly, the risk of occurrence and severity of side effects often depends on the patient’s predisposition. The most common complications of chemotherapy are alopecia, nausea and vomiting, infections associated with decreased immune cell count and activity, bleeding with decreased platelet count, and abnormal sensations – sometimes painful – peripheral polyneuropathy.
Side effects of treatment are not only a source of pain and adverse physical conditions, but also the fear of therapy and its continuation. Do their appearance translate into the psychological form of patients, the motivation to fight the disease? dr hab. n. honey. Renata Zaucha: That’s right. Fear of side effects has even been shown to lead to rejection of effective therapy.
Today, in most oncology centers, patients receive psychological care from the beginning. Involving psycho-oncologists allows you to quickly diagnose the problem, as patients are often afraid to tell the oncologist about their condition. How do you assess the current options for the treatment of cases caused by oncology therapy? What is support? dr hab. n. honey. Renata Zaucha: Some side effects, especially the risk, can be effectively prevented by using appropriate prevention. I mean nausea and vomiting with chemotherapy or fever due to a decrease in the value of leukocytes (especially neutrocytes).